Rope Material Guide | SGT KNOTS® Skip to content


At SGT KNOTS, we believe in delivering nothing but the best Rope at the best prices every day.  We also take pride in educating you on the different types of rope materials for all kinds of projects, whether it is on land, in the home, up a tree, or out at sea. 
With this rope guide, you will learn all about different types of rope, from the rope material itself to the types of rope best suited for your application.  That way, you can choose the best rope material for your next mission, all with the confidence of knowing you got them at the best prices in town (and on the internet!).



Twisted Cotton Rope

Derived from the seed of the cotton plant, cotton is a soft, fluffy, fast-drying natural rope material that will not overstretch or waver in strength.  Cotton also offers hypoallergenic, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.

Unbleached, undyed, and untreated Cotton Rope material (like the SGT KNOTS cotton rope) stands out when used for pet toys, crafting and macrame. Cotton also absorbs dye well,  making it an even more versatile rope material for crafting or custom projects. 

Cotton is a safe rope material for garden use when tying up plants or young trees for added support, but we would not recommend it for towing purposes, pulling heavy objects, or for boat rope.

Best Uses: Pet toys, Crafting and Macrame, Constructing Hammocks, Gardening

Show Me How: Making A Sweet Pea Trellis, DIY Macrame Plant Hanger


Twisted Manila Hemp Rope

Also referred to as Manila Hemp or “manila,” manila is sourced from the leaves of the abaca plant. Although manila is not actually hemp, it is often referred to as hemp due to its hemp-like fibers, which are naturally durable, flexible, and resistant to both saltwater damage and a fair amount of UV damage.  During the twisting process, Twisted Manila Rope produces natural mineral oils that help bond the strands together, resulting in rope with enhanced weather resistance.

Manila is the best rope material for outdoor applications like landscaping, decoration, swing sets, rope ladders, rigging, pulling, and the like.  It does not hold up well to rot, mildew, acids, alkalis, gas, or oil.  It also does not float, making it a poor rope material for boating or marine applications.  Once wet, manila rope will shrink, which can make untying knots difficult.

Best Uses: Landscaping & Decorative, Children’s Swing Sets, Rope Ladders, Rigging, Pulling

Show Me How: Make Your Own Backyard Rope Swing


Twisted Jute Rope

As one of the most lightweight and affordable natural fibers available today, Jute is the best rope material for everything from small arts and crafts projects to all-weather applications.  Spun from long, shiny vegetable fibers, Jute threads become coarse and strong, offering little stretch, all while being both biodegradable and compostable. 

Our Heavyweight Crown Jute Twine is perfect for use in the yard and garden or for farming, agriculture, home decor, and craft beer brewing.  A thicker Twisted Jute Rope offers all of the same benefits, with even more breaking strength than jute twine.  We would not recommend jute for tying cargo, pulling heavy objects, as suspension, or as a reliable rope material for bearing heavy weights. 

Best Uses: Arts & Crafts, Garden, Craft Beer Brewing, Home Decor, Agricultural/Farming

Show Me How: Twisted Jute Table Runner, Twisted Jute Bowl, DIY Dart Board Barrier, Round Photo Frame


Sisal Rope

Sourced from the Agave sisalana plant, sisal fibers offer a tough, stiff, and high-tensile strength natural rope option that’s resistant to moisture and deterioration from weather and saltwater.  Like jute, Sisal Rope is biodegradable, and SGT KNOTS Twisted Sisal Rope is free from chemical and oil treatments, which means it is safe for use with pets, livestock, craft beer brewing, home decor, gardening, arts and crafts, cat scratching posts, and more.  

The Unoiled Sisal Twine is the ideal choice for butchers, food packaging, home decor, and gardening.  Crown Sisal Twine is 100% compostable and features double the strength of regular twine, making it perfect for recycling, tying cardboard boxes, and bushcraft.

Due to its 100% water absorption, poor shock absorption, and inability to float, we would not recommend sisal rope materials for any suspension-related, sailing, or water sports use.

Best Uses: Arts/Crafts, Decor, Gardening, Livestock, Craft Beer-Brewing, Cat Toys/Scratching Posts, Tying Cardboard Boxes, Recycling, Bushcraft

Show Me How: Cat Tree Repair



 Twisted Nylon Rope

Boasting superior shock absorption, strength, durability, and resistance to abrasion, sunlight, moisture, and chemicals, nylon is one of the best rope materials for all of your outdoor needs, on land or at sea.

Nylon Rope is made from a silky thermoplastic material that is soft on the hands.  It comes in hollow, twisted, braided, or double braided styles, each with its own levels of strength and flexibility based on the thickness and style chosen.

Nylon Rope is one of the strongest rope materials for sailing and marine use or for basic knot tying. Specifically, we recommend Solid Braid Nylon Ropes and Diamond Braid Nylon Ropes for water applications.  We also recommend Hollow Braid Nylon Rope as barrier ropes and Double-Braided Nylon Core Rope for tree work.

Due to its thermoplastic nature, we do not recommend nylon rope for pet toys, garden use, or any application where a biodegradable or compostable rope material is needed.

Best Uses: Barrier Rope, Sailing & Marine Rope, Mooring/Towing Lines, Household or Industrial Applications, Tree Work, Basic Knot Tying, Tie Downs/Securing Cargo, Pulleys, Winches, Fall Protection

Show Me How: Knot Tutorials, Sewing With Nylon Thread, A Beginner’s Guide to Fishing Knots


Parcord 550 SGT KNOTS

Paracord (short for “parachute cord”) is undoubtedly one of the most reliable rope products available today.  After its military declassification following World War II, paracord made its debut as one of the best rope materials for crafting, camping, and survival needs, like tying rucksacks, securing camo nets, and securing shelter in the wild.  Paracord breaking strength varies by paracord type, but all paracord products are resistant to water, mildew, and abrasion. 


Type I Paracord - Minimum breaking strength = 95lbs.  Ideal for household purposes.

Type III (Paracord 550) - Minimum breaking strength = 550lbs.  Ideal for Outdoor Survival.

 IV (Paracord 750)- Minimum breaking strength = 750lbs.  Ideal for Outdoor Survival.

If your application requires a rope that can be knotted many times or must hold up to bending around sharp angles, paracord is not recommended, as these actions can significantly weaken the rope. 

Best Uses: Survival, Climbing, Camping, Lanyards, Belts, Rifle Slings, Handle Wraps, Securing Gear, Setting Traps, Tie Downs.

Show Me How: How to Make a Paracord Dog Leash, How to Make a Paracord Bracelet, Paracord Axe Wrap, A-Frame Shelter with Paracord


black and blue striped polyfoam rope

If you require a high-tensile strength rope with a 100% buoyancy rate in salt or freshwater, PolyFoam Rope is for you!  

This chemical-based, memory foam-like rope material is most often found in mattresses, furniture upholstery, and vehicle interiors, and now, as the best rope material for Commercial Fishing, boating, camping, backpacking, fly-fishing, and anywhere else you need a lightweight, affordable, buoyant, and water-resistant rope.  

SGT KNOTS PolyFoam Floating Rope is perfect for marking lanes or boundaries in a pool, lake, or beach water, and makes an excellent net building material that commercial fishermen can rely on.

We would not recommend polyfoam rope for any purposes where a compostable, biodegradable, or food-safe rope material is needed.

Best Uses: Commercial Fishing, Camping, Backpacking, Boating, Fly-Fishing, Marking Water Lanes/Boundaries



Twisted ProManila Rope
Commonly referred to as “unmanila,” ProManila Rope is a lightweight rope made from polypropylene yarns and resembles the look of natural manila rope.  ProManila offers more strength than natural manila rope, all while holding and releasing knots easily.  
Since ProManila rope is virtually resistant to wear, tear, moisture, oils, and chemicals, you can count on it for most applications, including landscaping/farm use, rope swings, tug-o-war rope, decoration, creating barriers, sailing/marina use, and more.  Choose from Twisted ProManila or Hollow Braided ProManila.
While promanila works for many applications, it tends to stretch under weight and break down faster when exposed to UV rays, so consider these factors before choosing this type of rope for your application.


Polyester Twisted Rope
Searching for a rope that’s virtually unphased by anything you throw at it? If so, Polyester Rope may just be the best rope material for you!

Of all the different types of rope available today, polyester is one of the few rope materials that can withstand rot, decay, oil, chemical-based weakening moisture, UV damage, grease, water, heat, and temperature. Polyester rope also offers low stretch, unwavering flexibility, and will not shrink after getting wet, which means knots are a cinch to untie. You will find polyester rope to be a trusty sidekick for general outdoor, climbing, marine, and boating applications.
Polyester rope is available in twisted and braided styles, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. 
Twisted Polyester Rope is a non-elastic rope offering incredible stretch and distortion resistance. If you need a rope material that can be easily spliced, tied, untied, and retied again in any weather, this is it. We recommend twisted nylon for outdoor applications like boating, oil rigs, ranches, and more. One of the downsides of twisted polyester rope is that it is not as easy on the hands as braided rope will be.
Braided Polyester Rope is a flexible rope that, while being more difficult to splice, is easier on the hands than twisted nylon rope. Braided polyester is one of the best rope materials for Climbing Rope since it will not twist the climber around like twisted rope will.
Given polyester rope’s inability to stretch and float, we do not recommend it for any water uses where a floating rope is needed or where a rope with some give is required.
Best Uses: Lifting Slings, Climbing Rope, Outdoor Clothesline, Sailing & Marine Rope, Rigging, Winches


Dacron Polyester Utility Rope
Dacron Polyester is a trademarked polyester fiber material created by DuPont and known for its overall increased quality, durability, and strength compared to generic polyester rope.  In fact, Dacron Polyester is one of the strongest rope materials you can use for mooring, fishing, boating, and tow lines.  It is non-absorbent, mildew-resistant, hypoallergenic, will not stretch when wet, or let you down when you need it to perform.
Dacron Polyester Rope is one of the most popular types of ropes for Kayak & Paddle Boarding, Scuba Reels, Bowfishing, Twisted Battle Ropes, and all-around Utility Ropes.
Best Uses: Kayak & Paddle Boards, Staging & Theatre Rope, Scuba Diving Rope & Bowfishing Line, Extreme Temperature Situations


red and yellow spools of polyethylene rope

As one of the most frequently used plastics today, polyethylene is one of the best types of rope material for outdoor, water, and boating applications.  
Polyethylene Rope is lightweight, completely buoyant, moisture and water-resistant, and resistant to most chemical wear.  It even offers more flexibility and elasticity than polypropylene rope.  Because it is made from plastic, polyethylene rope will also stand up well to abrasion, giving you added assurance it will perform when and where you need it to, from the mountains to the sea, and every stop in between.
Use SGT KNOTS Reflective Hollow Braid Polyethylene Rope in hot or cold environments out on the ski trail to block off danger zones, to mark paths on the golf course, at a concert or large-scale venue for crowd control.
With that being said, we do not recommend polyethylene rope in high-heat environments since its lower melting point (about 170°C/338°F) can soften and weaken the plastic fibers.  We also do not recommend it as a safety rope or in situations where it may be exposed to extreme weight or stress.  Due to its slippery nature, it also is known to release knots easier, which can be a hassle if you need a knot to stay put.
Best Uses: Barrier Rope, Water & Boating Applications, Crowd Control


Polypropylene Rope
Polypropylene Rope is created using a thermoplastic material with strengths comparable to polyester rope.  As a rope material, polypropylene costs less than most other synthetic fibers, making it an affordable option for those in need of a flexible, low-stretch rope that can withstand damage, abrasion, and wear from environmental exposures like UV rays, water, chemicals, road salts, electrical currents, and more. 
Like many other ropes, polypropylene ropes are available in twisted and braided styles. Twisted Polypropylene Rope offers a bit more stretch and is easy to splice, while Braided Polypropylene Rope offers less stretch and flexibility and is also harder to splice than its twisted counterpart.
Polypropylene ropes are more difficult to tie and knot than other synthetic rope options but are ideal for stage and theatre use, livestock and equine use, marine applications, and other water-related tasks like creating swimming lane barriers.
Best Uses: Barrier Rope, Equine Rope, Sailing & Marine Rope, Staging & Theatre Rope, Work Around Electric Lines

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Tommy D - March 29, 2024

Looking for a new anchor rope for a drift boat in cold weather. My current one freezes up and is a PITA! Which would you recommend?

Semper Fi,
Tommy D

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